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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Living in A Panic Inducing Household

07/10/2006

Question:

When I met my dad at age 11 and visited him approximately 2-3 times during the ages of 11-13 two strange incidences occured. 1) While I was standing, leaning over to my twin brother at the bar in the living room, wearing my bikini, I heard from behind me the sound of a camera snapping. I turned around and saw that dad had taken a polaroid of my butt in which he explained in his own words (i don`t remember) that my butt looked nice and because it was tightened (from leaning over to my brother). I grabbed the picture from him and told him that it was `nasty`. This year at 31 years of age I confronted him about it. He says that nothing was meant by it since he did it in the open while my brother and I were standing there. 2) One day he asked me into the spare room because he wanted to take a picture of me. He asked me to pose against the wall, but repeatedly kept asking me to lower my shorts for the pose. After he took the picture, I walked over to look at it and my shorts were sooo low that had I pulled them down any lower my pubics could have started popping out. The picture looked so horrible because so much of my skin was showing, even he made some kind of comment on how the picture did not look right. He tried to crumple the polaroid and threw it away. Then I `met` him again at age 30...I moved state and into his house (the same house where he took the two adolescent pictures of me) believing it was my best option... Repeatedly, strange incidences had occured. 1)The first day we decided to go swimming in his pool, I told him that I was going to go put on my shorts and bikini top to swim in because I was self conscious about my body. He urged over and over that I should put on my full bikini. I eventually did thinking that I need to grow up anyways and be comfortable with my body. While I`m sitting outside the pool in a chair and he is in the pool, as we are talking about my insecurities of my body, while he is stoned (he has done extensive drugs since his adolescent years)at one point he says `come here` and reaches his hand out to me (I felt !!!!) then he `carressed` with his fingertip the skin under my neck saying stuff like I have nice skin, boobs, etc... 2)The first bath I took was late one night. It took approximately 30 minutes to fill the tub because it`s faucet didn`t work so I had to use the sink faucet and use bowls of water etc. AFTER I get in the bath all the sudden I hear him at the other side of my bathroom door. He asks, `are you okay?` I yelled back in reply with disgust, `cannot a 30 year old woman manage to take a bath alone safely?` 3)One day, I tell him I will be back after I`m done taking pictures of myself for my boyfriend. I go to my room...while I`m doing this in my room all the sudden I hear him say from the other side of my bedroom door, `Do you want me to let your dog in?` In disgust I yell in reply, `NO!` Minutes later, he is back outside my door again and he said, `Do you want me to help take those pictures for you?` I don`t remember my reply of disgust. Later, I confronted him about these incidences. He claims that they were jokes. I showed him one of those pictures which was of my butt only and wearing a solid black longerie pair of shorts with red lace trim. He responded, folding his hands in prayer yelling, `thank you God!.` 4) I told him a story about being nearly raped. I was very clear about having not been raped. Then I remember him not once comforting me emotionaly and all he had to say was he wanted to kill the guy and `did he get in your pants off?` 5)One morning sleeping on the couch in the living room I awoke to find him starring at my face from like a foot or two away. 6)Told me one day, `you don`t know what I`d do to you if you were not my daughter.` I confronted him later. He claims he said this to boost my self esteem and that it was okay for him to say since I said (WHEN I was 12/13)TO my brother (my brother told him then apparently) `if he weren`t my dad I`d date him in high school` in reference to his senior high school picture. 7)In his garage one day, as I was looking up at an old cantine and asked him why he had such an old item on his wall, he says... but like a teenager takes his flashlight and puts it `up my crack`. 8) He, in his middle 50`s nearly `dated` a woman, 21-22 years old last year who has the same name as me. 9) One morning he barged into my room after saying from the other side of my door, "hey", and I responded, `yah?` I had to throw the blankets over myself as fast as I could so that he wouldn`t see me in my thong underware. I confronted him later. Later I commanded him that he always knock before entering my room. He told me one day that I was too ferocious about telling him to knock and that it is not fair that he has to knock when I do not have to do so when I go into his room at night. HE KEEPS HIS DOOR CRACKED FOR HIS CATS TO GO IN AND OUT AT NIGHT. I PEEK IN TO SEE IF HE IS IN BED SOMETIMES BECAUSE I WOULD NEED TO ASK HIM IF HE WOULD STAY AWAKE FOR ME SO I COULD HAVE SOMEONE TO TALK TO WHILE HAVING A PANIC ATTACK! I`ve been experiencing them since Nov. 2004. I have yet to determine if my dad is a manipulator or has the mental capacity of a 3rd grader since he would even try to compare the two. 10) One night having layed in the dark on the couch for about a half hour before falling asleep with my dog`s head resting on my legs as I`m curled up, all the sudden I feel my dog`s head lift up from my legs at to look at something in the dark. I decide to look also. I see my dad wearing only his underware, scrambling in the dark from one side of the kitchen door opening behind the wall in which there is only the front door there where it appears he was hiding to the opposite side of the kitchen wall. Then he peeks his head out stuttering I think something like, "I was just checking if you are okay." Within minutes he comes out to the living room, now in his robe and tells me he forgot to turn something off relating to the pool, so he goes outside the sliding doors... 11) I drove to his house for the rest of my things because I moved out. Sitting at the kitchen table, wearing summer shorts, 10 minutes before I`m leaving, I notice him put on his glasses that he wears when he watches movies. I`m talking on the phone. Then I notice his eyeballs starring in the direction of my legs. I turn my head trying to be discreet to see exactly what he is looking at and as quickly as possible without moving his head he moves his eyeballs to look at the fridge. This eyeball `game` happened like four-five times consequtively.

Recently my mom just informed me that he physically hurt her while they were married for not wearing a bra under her shirt one day while they were visiting with his parents and for another incident where she accidently saw a friend of his laying asleep in his underware while they were passing through the friend`s bedroom to get to thier sleeping quarters.

I believe that my dad is a pervert, a pedophile in the sense of fantasy, and I believe he lies or manipulates me in regards to his responses when I confront him about the incidences. What do you think? Please help.

Answer:

Well it certainly sounds as if you have some significant problems with your father.  He sounds like he has a substance abuse problem, as you have described it.  It sounds like you made a good decision to move away from what has become a difficult situation for you.

I do not believe that "diagnosing" your father is as important as seeking counseling or therapy for yourself.  You obviously have had some difficult experiences in both your childhood and into adulthood.  You may be experiencing some post traumatic stress disorder, but only a qualified therapist or physician can make that diagnosis.  Please seek out a therapist soon.

Good luck.

Related Resources:

National Center for PTSD

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati